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Products You Probably Don’t Want to Buy Super-Cheap

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Illustration for article titled Products You Probably Don’t Want to Buy Super-Cheap

Photo: filo (Getty Images)

The old expression “you get what you pay for” is often true, but can be downright generous for household items bought on the cheap. Some even have negative value, because they’re so poorly made that they cost you more in the long run compared to a pricier, better-made versions. The following items shouldn’t be bought at bargain-basement prices, if you can help it.

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Batteries 

Discount battery manufacturers make poorly-made batteries with substandard seals that can leak and ruin the devices they power. Top-end batteries leak less, and if they do, the premium brand will offer to replace your damaged device. Cheap batteries also tend to be made from carbon-zinc which doesn’t last as long as alkaline batteries. You might even see a “use for low-drain devices” disclaimer on the packaging, which should tell you a lot.

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Mac ‘n Cheese 

The powdered cheese in cheap off-brands doesn’t fully emulsify and leaves behind clumps. The good news is that the old standbys like Kraft Mac & Cheese can be found for less than $1 a box if you buy it in bulk.

Toilet Paper 

The cheap stuff is usually one-ply and made from a poorer quality of paper made with less fibers. It’s less absorbent and tears easily, so you might end up using more of it compared to a softer-feeling two-ply brand.

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Laundry detergent 

Those old TV ads with a split-screen showing a top brand cleaning stains better than “brand X” detergent wasn’t just marketing. The cheapest brands will not remove tough stains like dirt and chocolate.

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Furniture 

Used furniture found on reseller sites is sturdier, less wasteful, and more widely available than the low-end stuff you’ll find at places like IKEA. Many sellers on sites like Craigslist will even give you their furniture for free if you’re able to pick it up and take it off their hands.

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Light bulbs

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient bulb compared to CFL or incandescent bulbs, which is great for your utility bill. But cheap, lower-quality LED bulbs are more likely to make a buzzing noise, have inconsistent color, and will almost certainly die sooner.

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Wall Paint

Cheap paint requires more coats to get the same even coverage than a more expensive paint, so you might not be saving money at all. Premium paint has better-quality pigments and thickening additives that allow for a more uniform surface. Plus, cheap paint fades sooner.

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Shoes

Cheap shoes might save you some dollars, but they can also virtually disintegrate without much use, especially if they get wet. If the quality of materials and manufacturing of shoes are poor, they’ll force you to replace your shoes in weeks or months, not years.

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Condoms

Most brands of condoms are very safe and approved by the FDA (which means they randomly test condoms and strict guidelines manufacturers must follow). However, stay clear of “condom-like products” which are not FDA-approved (like those weird novelty condoms you can buy in bathrooms) as they may not offer the same level of protection.

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What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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